Santa Ana: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Santa Ana boasts more than 13,000 in-city businesses; major industries include a mix of retail trade, service, and manufacturing firms.

Government is a major employer in Santa Ana; as the county seat, the city has offices at the county, state, and federal levels. Santa Ana is also a financial center, with 25 banks and 57 savings and loan associations. The aerospace and electronics industries, among the area's largest employers, figure significantly in the city's economy.

Santa Ana was the recipient of California's largest commercial loan program, which contributed to redevelopment of the downtown district. Part of the project were ten new banking and financial buildings and the Civic Center, which houses city, county, state, and federal government buildings. Several Fortune 500 companies, including Textron's Cherry Division, ITT Cannon, and Xerox, are located in Santa Ana.

Tourism is a major industry in Santa Ana and Orange County. Within a radius of 10 miles of the city are several of California's most popular tourist attractions, such as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and southern California beaches. Forty million people visit the Orange County area each year, spending more than $6.4 billion.

Items and goods produced: sugar; glass products; plumbing material; foam rubber products; dehydrating, electronic, and sporting equipment; concentrates; extracts; agricultural machinery; perfumes; feed; cement pipes; soft drinks; rivets; fasteners; canned and dried fruits and vegetables; packaged walnuts and oranges; poultry

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Orange County Business Council (OCBC) concentrates on attracting and retaining high-quality, high-paying and low-polluting jobs to Orange County. For business development, the OCBC is the single business point-of-contact for economic development and related business information in Orange County. As well, the OCBC leads the county in ensuring a quality workforce and advocating legislation to benefit businesses. Within the city of Santa Ana, 98 percent of commercial and industrial property is a designated Enterprise Zone that offers major tax breaks and other incentives to attract and retain business.

State programs

The State of California finances programs to help small and medium-sized businesses develop export markets and improve the quality of products and the skills of work forces. Parts of Santa Ana are designated part of a Federal Empowerment Zone. Santa Ana was the only town west of the Rockies to receive such a designation. As a Federal Urban Empowerment Zone, the city of Santa Ana will receive up to $100 million in performance grants to be used in the designated area. Up to $10 million will be paid out each year through 2008.

Job training programs

The Santa Ana Work/Opportunities/Resources/Knowledge (W/O/R/K/) Center is a nonprofit organization comprised of a partnership between several agencies: The Santa Ana Workforce Investment Board, State Employment Development Department, Santa Ana College, and Orange County Social Services. The W/O/R/K Center is a one-stop shop designed to meet the job training and placement needs of the community. The center was awarded the largest grant ($867,000) given by the State of California for such programs in 2000.

Development Projects

Major recent commercial developments in Santa Ana include the Main Place regional shopping center, MacArthur Place mixed use area, and the Santa Ana Auto Mall. More than 5,000 acres of the city are within six focused redevelopment areas that include a variety of governmental, infrastructure, retail and residential projects.

Economic Development Information: Orange County Business Council, 2 Park Plaza, Suite 100, Irvine, CA, 92614-5904; telephone (949)476-2242; fax (949)476-9240.

Commercial Shipping

Air freight facilities for Santa Ana are available at John Wayne Airport. Rail freight service is provided by the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. More than 100 motor freight carriers link Santa Ana with markets throughout the country; overnight delivery service is available to several West Coast cities as well as to Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Reno.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Santa Ana has a young, well-trained work force that comprises over 10 percent of Orange County's labor pool. Employment forecasts in the Orange County area are positive, with growth of 15 percent expected between 2001 and 2008. Unionization is prevalent in manufacturing, trucking, retailing, the hotel industry, warehousing, and some grocery and drugstore chains.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Santa Ana-Irvine-Anaheim metropolitan area nonagricultural labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 1,460,000

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 600

construction: 91,800

manufacturing: 183,200

trade, transportation and utilities: 264,300

information: 33,500

financial activities: 131,200

professional and business services: 259,600

educational and health systems: 130,400

government: 153,200

leisure and hospitality: 164,500

other services: 4,730

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.13

Unemployment rate: 5.8% (January 2005)

Santa Ana: Economy

Largest private employers: Number of employees
Ingram Micro Incorporated 3,000
Orange County Register 2,000
ITT Industries Cannon 1,500
Western Medical Centers 1,300
OneSource 1,100

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Santa Ana area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $674,000 (Orange County)

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 151.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 1.0% to 9.3%

State sales tax rate: 6% plus .5% in Santa Ana (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.25% county and city, plus any district taxes imposed by the county (0.50% to 1.0%); comes into effect through general election

Property tax rate: limited to 1% of assessed value by state law. The local taxing body can add bonds approved by popular vote.

Economic Information: Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, 2020 N. Broadway, 2nd Floor, Santa Ana, CA 92706; telephone (714)541-5353; fax (714)541-2238